“The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife. . . . he should at some point call the elders of the church. . .”

The first time the dishes are not done, he must sit down with his wife immediately and gently remind her that this is something which has to be done. At no time may he lose his temper, badger her, call her names, etc. He must constantly remember and confess that she is not the problem, he is. By bringing this gently to her attention, he is not to be primarily pointing to her need to repent; rather, he is exhibiting the fruit of his repentance.

He does this, without rancor and without an accusative spirit, until she complies or rebels. If she complies, he must move up one step, now requiring that another of her duties be done. If she continues to rebel after patient effort, he should at some point call the elders of the church and ask them for a pastoral visit. When the government of the home has failed to such an extent and a godly and consistent attempt by the husband to restore the situation has broken down, then the involvement of the elders is fully appropriate.
Douglas Wilson


  1. this is laughable , who lives like this? My husband just does the dishes himself when it is needed. We are a team. I have raised our 7 children , all with his uncomplaining help.

  2. I could see myself meeting an elder with a dish rag in hand at the door so he could help too, being the servants they are you know. What about instead of discipline they send their wives over, or their older daughters who are sitting around waiting for daddy to find them a husband, to help with the tired worn out mommy of 12? That is what we did in our little church. We helped each other when needed. If there was a particular lady who was lazy, we just helped out anyway…. isn’t that what Christians do?

  3. This scenario is so laughable. It makes me sad for all the wives of Wilsonites with husbands who think this is a normal, acceptable way to relate with one’s spouse. This is how you deal with a child who won’t eat their broccoli, not a wife who hasn’t accomplished her wifely tasks. Ridiculous.

  4. Calling the elders and church discipline – the lengths Wilson will go to in order to ensure that his Laphroaig has a clean tumbler to be poured into every day.

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